The Men's Australian Open gets underway on Monday 14th January and betting for the event in Melbourne is hotting up. Novak Djokovic leads the way with the bookies but Andy Murray is as short a price as he has ever been heading into a grand slam tournament following his maiden US Open success four months ago.
Murray is currently priced 5/2 to win his second major title by Paddy Power and there is a feeling that the British number one has unfinished business in Australia. Murray was a losing finalist in 2010 and 2011 before going down to Djokovic in a thrilling semi-final last year. It is fair to say that Murray will be a lot more confident now he has got the 'monkey off his back' by becoming the first British male grand slam winner since 1936.
The Scott enjoyed a sensational 2012, winning Olympic Gold and the US Open, and he heads into this next major in fine form after his successful defence of his Brisbane International title last week. He beat Gregor Dmitrov 7-6, 6-4 in the final, although Dmitrov could prove to be a dark horse at 100/1 after he beat Milos Raonic (66/1) and Marcos Baghdatis (200/1) en route to the final.
There is no doubt that Novak Djokovic offers the biggest threat to Murray though and the world number one is bidding for an unprecedented third successive Australian Open win. The Serb won last year's tournament with an epic win in the final against Rafael Nadal, who is absent this year because of his troublesome knee injury. Djokovic hasn't lost a match here since 2010 and he claims his game is exactly where he wants it to be coming into this tournament, despite a shock defeat to Bernard Tomic in the recent Hopman Cup.
Djokovic is currently the 6/5 favourite to land a third straight Aussie Open but Roger Federer will hope to have something to say about that. Federer, who last won this title in 2010, keeps on proving the doubters wrong and 2012 was another fine year for the Swiss star as he landed the Wimbledon crown. The second seed is always dangerous on hard courts, as he proved when reaching the final of the ATP World Tour Finals at the back end of the year. Federer lost to Djokovic in London though and he is currently a 4/1 punt in the latest betting with paddypower, which is a reflection of his struggles against Murray and Djokovic of late.
Juan Martin Del Potro has also struggled to overcome the big guns when it matters but the 2009 US Open winner demands respect at 14/1. The Olympic bronze medallist reached the quarter-finals here last year and the fact he appears to be back to full fitness will benefit a player whose explosive game is perfectly suited to these hard courts.
Elsewhere, David Ferrer could be a decent each-way punt at 33/1 after reaching the semi-finals here last year. He is a tough competitor and no-one will want to be in the same half of the draw as him, although his 0-14 record against Federer continues to hold him back. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga has had similar troubles against the 'big three' and the 2008 finalist is priced 33/1, with Tomas Berdych available at 45/1.
6/5 Novak Djokovic
5/2 Andy Murray
4/1 Roger Federer
14/1 Juan Martin Del Potro
33/1 Roger Federer
33/1 David Ferrer
33/1 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga
45/1 Tomas Berdych
50/1 Bernard Tomic
66/1 Milos Raonic
Odds supplied by PaddyPower.com, who offer live betting in-running throughout the Australian Open.
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